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GOP Presidential Debate: What the Pundits Are Saying

Mitt Romey GOP Las Vegas - H 2011
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Most of the attention centered around the heated exchanges between former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Things got a bit heated during the eighth debate in a series of Republican debates, which was held in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

The candidates included Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.

During the debate, both Cain and Romney were targeted for harsh criticism from the other candidates. At one point Romney and Perry got into an argument over whose turn it was to speak. Perry also called out Romney for allegedly using a lawn care company that hired illegal immigrants.

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Many experts agreed that this debate elevated the election race to a new level.

“Romney and Perry are the two guys who have the money, the infrastructure, the resources the campaign team to keep this going in the long haul. You saw them go to a new level tonight,” said John King on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 after the debate.

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“Mitt Romney is the only person on the stage who understands -- or can at least speak clearly on -- the full breadth of issues that face the president. Romney took heavy fire from nearly everyone, but his rivals usually did more harm to themselves,” wrote Taegan Goddard of Political Wire.

NBC News political reporter Chuck Todd wrote on Twitter, “Perry was no shrinking violet tonight; he forced himself back front-n-center with Romney; Cain was the one fading from spotlight tonight.”

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James Fallows of The Atlantic wrote, “No getting around this: like Romney or not (I don't), he comes across as the only sane figure.”

“I believe Romney won the debate because he again showed a sure, steady performance and command on the economy. Perry tried to hard to score and came across as snippy and thin-skinned,” wrote Bradley Blakeman of FoxNews.com.

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Piers Morgan took a jab at Michele Bachmann, who made a comment that made it seem as if she did not know that Libya was in Africa. “I wonder if Michele Bachmann can see Africa from her house? “

“Only one thing's certain tonight - this is the most riveting GOP debate so far,” Morgan continued.

“Ever the gentleman, @THEHermanCain refers to his opponents as his ‘distinguished colleagues,’” wrote ABC News Deputy Political Director & Political Reporter Michael Falcone.